"A sad day indeed David and with Newcastle and Birmingham bemoaning poor attendances there could be more closures on the way. You've made some constructive proposals. I'll comment on just one and that is the idea of a league merger.
In 1965 the British League of 18 teams was formed as the powers that be at the time realised the continuation of a National League with just 6 teams was not viable.They made their peace with the Provincial League and British Speedway thrived from that point onwards.
In 2021 there are many other pressures on the sport but David is absolutely right that the current Premier League is just not viable. Virtually all its riders are doubling up in the Championship so there is no real difference in standard between the two leagues. Understandably riders want to ride for two teams to earn enough money but if one league of 18 teams was formed each team would have many more fixtures as David suggests and in turn fans would get greater variety.
As it is Premier League fans see each team at least twice during a short season and then more of the same for those going through to the play-offs. Action needs to be taken and fast as David suggests, otherwise the spiral of decline will never be halted."
"I agree with David's views on the whole. Pay structure first and foremost. Riders in 2 leagues a no no!. Halt to fixed race days. Don't pander to Polish Speedway, riders ride here or not. Amalgamate leagues, pay scale as to experience.
My look on how I think it should be. 3 Area leagues, Northern, Midlands and Southern. 6/7 teams in each. Fixtures through April May June. One fixture per week 1H then 1A - some fans cannot afford home meets every week.
Try 6 man teams covering usual 15 heat format, riders to cover R/R position. for more tactical opportunities. Injured Rider Replacement to remain. Guests only to come from other area leagues. Area Cup competitions.
From July, top 2 from each league form Premier Comp. next 2 Championship Comp. Last 2 or 3 form last comp to be arranged.* *(Fans have commented that 3 team matches gain more visiting fans)
Overall teams could get approx. 10 / 12 Area league matches, at least 2 cup matches, 10 Prem/Champ/Other matches. Total 11 home and 11 away matches approx. Play offs if needed. (never like playoffs myself). "
Very sad news today with the death of Ian Hoskins being announced. The legendary promoter allowed us to publish some extracts from his autobiography a number of years back. In this one he tells us about the birth of the Glasgow Tigers.
Ian was probably best remembered for his involvement with the Edinburgh Monarchs throughout the 1960s. In this extract he recalls the extraordinary 1964 season when the Provincial League broke away from the control board.
"It seems like I was tempting fate by writing this article.The Eagles are no longer "flying high".They have withdrawn from all competitions with immediate effect, unable to overcome significant debt problems. Their Managing Director has given a lengthy explanation, but it seems the main problem was lack of paying customers. Over 90 years of Speedway at Arlington have come to a sudden stop and there must be question marks about whether Eastbourne will re-open next year. A black day for British Speedway.Birmingham and Newcastle have been making similar noises so even more closures would not come as a surprise. "
"Speedway's Black Hole? Dave's article reiterates what all us seasoned speedway goers have pointed out over the years, all we wanted was a team to support, weekly meetings and no rider control, so why is it the speedway authorities can't achieve this, Sweden and Poland have.
The nearest track to me is Sittingbourne and having just hit the big 70 I don't plan on renewing my driving licence, so why would I want to fork out £50 odd to watch 45 minutes of racing with a bunch of veteran racing on a poor racing circuit when I can subscribe for just £9.95 a month to watch top flight excellent live speedway on Premier Sports from the comfort of my armchair being able to pause and cut out th e boring bits with their weekly Polish and twice weekly Swedish top flight leagues and watch the highlights of Eurosports British Premiership on Quest when they deem to show a match. Even the GP's I'm happy to just watch the finals on you-tube.
We've now lost Eastbourne and reading the question and answer interview given by the management you can understand why they're packing up. If rumours are correct it seems Newcastle and some others may go the same way. Only good bit of news seem to be there is a possibility that Oxford may reopen. The new Belle Vue track is excellent and Wolverhampton still throws up good racing.
I hope British Speedway can get back to it's great days but I fear we've lost too many stadiums for that to happen and with the promoters only having their own interests at heart, nothing's going to change. As Dave points out we need one league, race nights to suit promotions and perhaps second half junior racing to bring on new talent. "